Application-aware storage is a storage system with built-in intelligence about relevant applications and their utilization patterns. Once the storage "understands" the applications and usage conditions, it is possible to optimize data layouts, caching behaviors, and quality of service (QoS) levels. This is a particularly challenging goal because application-aware storage does not run application code locally. Instead, it demands significant integration between the operating system (OS), the host bus adapter (HBA), and the applications themselves.
Application-aware storage allows storage managers to better utilize commodity disks for low-priority applications, while still getting the best possible performance, capacity and reliability for mission critical applications. Application awareness can be particularly useful for boosting performance in storage-intensive tasks such as archiving, backups, disaster recovery, replication, data modeling, and index/search.
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- Todd Anderson and James Griffoen described an application-aware data storage model at the USENIX Conference in 1999. (PDF)